Surgeon Operating on Multiple Patients
I was reading a news article that blew my mind. A 2-year investigation was searching for billing fraud problems with a cardiothoracic surgeon. What the investigation found was deeply troubling. Was a surgeon operating on multiple patients at the same time or falsely billing for surgeries?
The investigation of Dr. James Luketich, University of Pittsburgh Physicians, and UPMC was seeking answers to questions about billing. The investigation found billing violations. But, the investigation also revealed the surgeon was moving back and forth between operating rooms – sometimes in different buildings.
Operating On Multiple Patients
Results of the 2-year investigation found Dr. Luketich would participate in multiple surgeries that were booked at the same time. He would disappear and be unreachable for long periods of time. Dr. Luketich would participate in meetings while he was needed in surgeries. Because of this, patients were under anesthesia longer than necessary, which can cause serious harm to patients.
Harm To Patients
The investigation also found that patients were harmed as a direct result of this surgeon’s actions. Patients suffered complications like pressure ulcers, deep tissue injuries, and in at least 2 instances patients required amputations.
Patients that need the help of a cardiothoracic surgeon often depend on the surgeon’s expertise to save their lives. The surgeries are long and require strict attention to the task at hand. Most people wouldn’t feel safe if they knew their surgeon was operating on multiple people at the same time. The patients in this situation were not aware the surgeon was leaving the operating room. More importantly, UPMC seems to approve of this practice.
Perhaps as troubling as the rest of this investigation, UPMC representatives commented that no laws prohibit overlapping surgeries or billing for those surgeries. This is a negligent stance for a hospital that puts profits over patient health and safety.
While there may be no law or regulation against operating on multiple patients, we would argue it is dangerous for patients. We’ve handled medical malpractice claims when the doctor makes mistakes in surgery on just one patient. Could you imagine the mistakes a doctor makes trying to multi-task on multiple complex surgeries?
Kane & Silverman Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Do you have questions about a possible medical malpractice claim? A medical malpractice attorney at Kane & Silverman can evaluate your case with a free consultation. Kane & Silverman is able to help people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Contact us today!